Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: American Airlines Flagship Service From Chicago To London

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Emily:  We left the lounge a little before the boarding announcement was made so that we could get settled in the plane early.  But the plane was delayed ~10 minutes, so we hung out by the gate.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Emily, Connie, Judi & Daraius En Route to London!

The agent made an announcement which I didn’t catch, but Daraius said that we (along with a few other passengers) were asked to go to the gate.  So we went to the gate and chatted with a very friendly American Airlines representative, who wasn’t the gate agent, but said she was from “premium services.”

I’m not sure why she paged about 6 of us to come up and chat with her, but she had just returned from Bombay/Mumbai, so my mom and Judi were excited to ask her about her stay there.

Daraius:  I’m always suspicious of these encounters, and I wondered if the rep paged us because someone had googled our names and found the blog (I don’t like special treatment), or if it was because I was a lifetime Gold elite member, or something else.  The agent mentioned that they had started chatting with customers on certain routes when I mentioned that this was the first time that we were paged to the gate just to chat.

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Emily:  We soon boarded the plane, which looked exactly like we had left it two years ago!  Except that this time, there was a fancier amenity kit and a welcome note.

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service Seat

Here’s a short video of the cabin.

My mom and I posed for a picture by the seat.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Emily & Connie

The cabin was worn down, but it was spacious and the seats were large.  A blanket and duvet were on the small footstool.

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service Blankets

We had the 4 seats in the center so we could all sit together.  It was fun watching my mom and Aunt Judi fiddle with the buttons and scan the menu.  They were so excited!

American Airlines Flagship Service

Connie & Judi Were Excited!

The amenity kit was new and nice—it was Eames designed and large enough to fit an iPad in, and certainly different than the regular amenity kits.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Connie with the American Airlines Amenity Kit

There was a welcome aboard note placed by our seat (which we didn’t notice the last time).

American Airlines Flagship Service

Welcome Aboard Note!

It came with the usual toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, moisturizing cream, eyemask, earplugs, and socks.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Inside The Amenity Kit

We also got new pajamas with a bolder design.  My mom and Aunt Judi loved their amenities and their pajamas!

American Airlines Flagship Service

Connie Likes the American Airlines Pyjamas

I really liked the black and white stripes with the red piping.  The pajamas were comfortable too, but they only had large/extra large sizes left, and usually I am a small or medium.

American Airlines Flagship Service

New Models for American Airlines!

We also got slippers to wear, but they kept falling off my feet.

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service Slippers

Everything was so new to my mom and Aunt Judi and they were impressed by the small details, like the wrapped blankets.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Wrapped Blankets!

Daraius:  There was an American Airlines pilot in the cabin, and he mentioned that American Airlines may be resuming their non-stop flights to Delhi and potentially even Bombay/Mumbai once they get their new 777-300 extended range aircrafts.  I’m not sure if there is any truth to this, but wanted to pass it along.

Emily:  Soon it was dinner time and we got our menus.  There were starters…

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service – Starters


American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service – Entrees


American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service – Wine Menu

And even wine tasting!

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service – Wine Tasting desserts!

There were also desserts!

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service

Daraius was happy to be eating again!

American Airlines Flagship Service

Food & Flight = Happy Daraius!

For dinner, I ordered a Greek salad with feta cheese, cucumbers, and pepperoni with 2 dressing choices.  I ordered the sour cream and herb dressing which went nicely with the salad.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Greek salad with feta cheese, cucumbers, and pepperoni

For the entrée, I got pasta with mushroom alfredo and Italian sausage for dinner.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Pasta with mushroom alfredo and Italian sausage

For the wine pairing, I got the Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve, and Daraius had the Domaine des Rochers Pouilly-Fuisse.  I preferred my pinot gris to Daraius’ drier pouilly-fuisse.

For the starter, Daraius had the bacon wrapped scallops served with jicama corn salad and cilantro cream…

American Airlines Flagship Service

Bacon wrapped scallops served with jicama corn salad and cilantro cream

…followed by corn chowder.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Corn Chowder

He liked the small salad that came with his meal the best, which is extremely unusual, so either the food was bad or the salad was excellent (he does like cilantro)!

I liked my salad as well, but there was not much feta cheese.  Our bread options included a pretzel roll, a wheat breadstick, and an herb roll.  The pretzel roll was the best.  The other breads tasted a bit like cardboard.

American Airlines Flagship Service


For the entree, Daraius had the seared shrimp served with Veracruz sauce, Mexican style cream rice, and bell pepper medley.  My mom and Aunt Judi also had the shrimp.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Seared shrimp served with Veracruz sauce, Mexican style cream rice, and bell pepper medley

We shared some of the cheese, crackers, and 5 pieces of grapes!

American Airlines Flagship Service

Cheese, Fruits & Crackers

For dessert, I ordered the specialty sundae which was a caramel apple crisp sundae with Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream, caramel, apple rice crisps, and candied pecans.  It was yummy!

American Airlines Flagship Service


Daraius got the traditional ice cream sundae with hot fudge, pecans, and whipped cream.  He also had a glass of icewine.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Icewine & Sundae

Daraius and I swiveled our seats so that we could sit together for dinner.  Also, it was easy to lean over and talk to my mom and Judi and make sure they were fine.  We were happy to see that they were chatting together nearly the entire flight.  They have been friends for 55 years and only get to see each other once every few years, so I guess they had a lot of catching up to do!

American Airlines Flagship Service

Can we Eat Now?

After dinner, my mom and Judi relaxed…

American Airlines Flagship Service

Enjoying The Flight

…while Daraius & I went to sleep.

American Airlines Flagship Service

Daraius in Bed!

I had breakfast in the morning, which comprised of fruit, an omelet, potatoes and steak.  Daraius slept through breakfast.

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service – Breakfast

Before the flight landed, we were each given a box of chocolates and the friendly crew came to say thanks and wish us a pleasant trip.

American Airlines Flagship Service

American Airlines Flagship Service – Chocolates

Daraius and I noticed a definite improved food quality and improved service.  The flight attendants were much more friendly than they have been in the past, and we appreciated their kind manners.

However, the seats were still older and less stylish than those of other airlines, but we still had a lot of fun on the flight!  We landed in London with only 1 hour 15 minutes to make our way to our next British Airways flight.  Forget visiting the lounge, but would we make the flight…?

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51 responses to “Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: American Airlines Flagship Service From Chicago To London

  1. So why did they page you to the gate? It was kind of left open ended….

  2. bostondeallover

    I would feel annoyed if being paged just for chatting.

  3. Looks like they had an amazing flight! My in-laws were over the moon when we booked them a ticket on UA ps first to SFO, and on domestic first from there to HNL. I can only imagine how excited yours must have been in a premium cabin on a longhaul flight!

    Redeeming miles for family is almost as great s redeeming yourself. Almost 😉

  4. The PJs look like they fit real well.

  5. I love the pj’s! Your mom looks like she’s having a ball!

  6. Well, I have to say that there is a limit to the number of times I can come back to a site that keeps posting stories that are titled, “My Mother-In-Law’s First Trip To India.” And we have just reached that limit.

  7. Emily,

    Your mom is a cutie – definitely doesn’t look old enough to have a daughter your age. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  8. If the AA flight attendants were nice, they must of been with TWA prior.

  9. I never tire of hearing about others’ firsts. Helps me rediscover things so as not to take them for granted. Thanks, Emily!

  10. I’ve been travel hacking for just about a year now, stacking up points. And I don’t think anything has convinced me more about the luxury of first-class international travel than this post. Definitely on the bucket list.

  11. I have enjoyed reading about your experiences and their first trip. I haven’t traveled first class before so the post was helpful. Now I understand the benefits for a long trip! I enjoyed your posts Emily.

  12. Loved all the pictures and details….how exciting! I agree with Rene, your Mom is a cutie and definitely looks young enough to be your sister….you’ve got good genes:)

    Being a newbie I have a couple questions- How do you know when booking a flight if it’s on AA flagship service? Is there a code of some sort to identify the plane? These seats (and the service you received) seem top notch. Of course I’m used to flying coach everywhere.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • @Penn @bostondeallover – Best I could tell they wanted to chat with passengers, but it would be annoying if it happened on every flight. But it was a more personal experience.

      @Food Wine and Miles – Ha! I’d say it is better!

      @Scott @Scott bill loverro – American Airlines did a good job with their PJs, re-branding, and their flight training.

      @Fred Mertz
      – There will be lots more posts in this series, but there should be other posts as well during that time. Are there any topics you’d like me to consider posting on?

      @Lucy – It is very easy to take such experiences for granted, but we’re lucky to be able to take such flights!

      @Justin McClelland
      – You should try it out sometime! BTW, I liked your blog and your adventures.

      @Elena – All long distance flights which have First Class are branded as “Flagship” by American Airlines.

  13. You can take people out of the ghetto, but not the ghetto out of the people…

    Look at the dirty looks from your unfortunate fellow passengers as you ham it up for your pics.

  14. Any mile-earning opportunities for rhinoplasty? If you insist on featuring your wife in every post, you might as well get some points if she ever gets that beak sized down a bit.

  15. I would like to mention that I also thought Emily’s mom looked young.

  16. @Steve23 I’m sure you are the perfect specimen of the Human race, correct? Oh, right, you’re not, so keep your arrogant sexist and insulting comments to yourself. They run a blog for fun, they don’t need personal attacks.

  17. Bryan Schmiedeler

    Darius, forgive me if this was in a previous post, but how were you able to snag FOUR award seats!!

    Also, I live in KC and fly out of MCI. Have you (or would you consider) doing a post about flying out of MCI? I have a lot of miles on American and ofter wonder if it is better to fly out of Chicago or Dallas?

  18. Flagship Service is any First Class flight on an International flight, or First Class on a domestic coast to coast. If the International flight has only Business and Coach, that means not Flagship. Business Class isn’t bad, no matter what.

    If you look at a domestic flight, it will be Flagship Service if there are the three cl;asses of service, First, Business and Coach. If you see only First and Coach, then, although First Class is always nice, it’s not Flagship.

    American Airlines Flagship service is the best!

  19. Emily, I always get large or extra large pjs too on most airlines. I’ve learned to love them and it’s become a sort of family joke. 🙂

  20. I have to say that the pasta dish looked very underwhelming…… I know it’s hard to do something about pasta but the presentation was just blah…

  21. Nice photos and review. The monitors look so small though! I recently flew BA First and it was unfortunately the old First and the monitors looked exactly the same way but the crew passed us iPads instead. Definitely an improvement.
    Not sure I’d want to spend my miles on flying AAs First class product unless its the new arrangement.

  22. Thanks for the trip reports. I enjoy them & am grateful for your attention to detail.

    Please ignore the negative comments of people like “Fred Mertz.” The anonymity of the internet means that in this civil discourse you’ll have some graffiti vandals.

    Daraius, are you Parsi? I’ve always assumed you were Persian, until you mentioned family in India.

  23. Your aunt and mother in law look to be my age.

  24. @Steve23
    Good one. How about I break your nose, asshole?

  25. @Wfb
    Why would you think he was Persian? I’m pretty sure he is American.

  26. @Jason
    That’s a simplistic view of identity. St Patrick’s Day in Boston must confuse you.

  27. @wfb
    St Pattys Day does confuse me. Is it a celebration of saints, irish saints, or drunk irish saints?

  28. I have never flown international first class before so I was wondering if it is customary for people to get into the PJs. It just looks so weird but makes complete sense if you want to get some sleep. You guys nailed it by saying the hard products were inferior while the food was great.

    In a previous post, I mistaken the mom for the friend. Why does Emily call the friend her aunt. It was a bit confusing for me to follow. Like others, I must comment on the fact that your MIL looks very good for her age. That means Emily will probably look very good as she ages too. You are one lucky man.

    They look like they are truly enjoying themselves in first class.

  29. @Food Wine and Miles- We were so lucky to be able to treat them! They did seem to enjoy the flights.

    @Scott- The pjs were nice, but they fit Daraius much better than they fit me!

    @Lively- Thanks! We’re so lucky that we were able to share it with her!

    @Rene- Thank you very much. I bet you just made her day!

    @Lucy- I agree, you should have seen them review the menu. I wish I would have gotten a picture of that. They were overjoyed with the selection. 🙂

    @Justin McClelland- First is a nice experience, and business class is also nice. We’re lucky to have found such a great hobby!

    @Susan- Glad you are enjoying the posts! First Class definitely makes the travel experience more enjoyable. We don’t travel in First or Business for domestic flights, but for long haul flights, first and business are really nice.

    @Elena- Thank you! It was exciting for me to share India with my family. 🙂

  30. I enjoyed reading your blog and thanks for the review on AA flagship first class. I just completed booking my family’s 3 week trip to China this coming December, the challenge is that there are five of us. I was thrilled to get five first class seats from shanghai to LAX on American Airline, then onto SFO where our home is. My question is, assuming you have flew Cathay pacific to HK before, if Cathay opens up first class seats two weekes before my return flight, would you recommend paying the fees to switch to Cathay, granted we would have to fly from Shanghai to HK, stop for a few hours, the HK directly to SFO, and we may not be able to go together in te same flight. Thanks.

  31. Thanks for your tips, it looks like you guys had a blast on your flight! We’re hoping to travel to India here soon, possibly combine India with a trip to the Philippines. I am new to the miles thing, and figure I’ll give it a try because I have racked up quite a bit of miles flying back and forth to South America on United. What do you think about transferring miles on United? My husband has some but they aren’t really doing us any good sitting in his account not getting anywhere close to Premier status, but it looks like they charge $15 per 1,000 miles to transfer them. That doesn’t sound like a deal to me. Thoughts?

    And don’t listen to those people such as @Ron and @Steve23. Their comments are vile and I am sure they are just uneducated people who spend their time lurking on the internet and being rude to make themselves feel better. People with class don’t say things like that. I appreciate your blog! It’s helping us learn the ropes of award travel.

    • @Sharon – Personally, I’d rather have my family travel less and be on the same flight than to be separated. But it depends on your (and your family’s) preferences.

      @Genevieve – I wouldn’t transfer the miles to your account, since he can book tickets for you or anyone else using the miles in his account. Just make sure they don’t expire in his account!

  32. Looks like you had a fun trip. Enjoyed the food photos!

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